Dog Park: The Movie

Written and directed by Bruce McCulloh, former member of the comedy troupe, Kids in The Hall, the 1998 movie, Dog Park, is a romantic comedy about a group of twenty-somethings in Canada who seem to enjoy better relationships with their dogs than they do with each other. The movie features an engaging cast, including Bruce McCulloh and another former Kids in The Hall member, Mark McKinney, as well as Natasha Henstridge, Luke Wilson and Janeane Garofalo, but Dog Park failed to connect with audiences.

The plot of the movie centers around Andy (Luke Wilson), a newspaper classified ad writer, who sees a recent breakup as just another of a series of unstable relationships that he has experienced since high school. Andy loses custody of his dog Mogley to the ex-girlfriend. Mogley becomes traumatized by repeated exposure to the ex-girlfriend’s sexual escapade with her new boyfriend, and is sent to a dog psychologist (Mark McKinney), who enjoys some of the movie’s best scenes.

Andy becomes infatuated with a gorgeous star of a children’s television show, Lorna (Natasha Henstridge), who unaccountably begins to date a nerdish fellow she meets at a video store. Andy falls into yet another short-lived relationship with a nutritionist. The main characters of Dog Park are likeable enough, but they seem lost in this wandering film that never seems to resolve itself. McCulloh and Garofalo play the only stable relationship in the film, as an annoyingly romantic couple with matching boxer dogs.

All the main characters have dogs, and there are plenty of scenes with lots of dogs, including those at a dog park, but the movie never really capitalizes on the connection between the dogs and their owners. Instead, the dogs serve only as gimmicks, failing to establish a unifying theme for the film. The film is rated R, for partial nudity and strong profanity. At a running time of only 90 minutes, Dog Park is mercifully short.

Notably, Janeane Garofalo later redeemed herself – and her association with dogs – with an endearing starring role in the 2005 romantic comedy, Must Love Dogs, the film that Dog Park perhaps aspired.